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Parallax - Advice            August 28, 2000

   Men need more help than women

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We've always known that men are usually more needy when it comes to relationship smarts, and also that they're less likely to ask for help. This week is an exception, as Conversely's non-gender-biased advice team fields questions from three needy fellows. Is she cheating on him? How does one break-up? And first off, should she meet his parents?

She's ten years older and getting too serious.
Does he let her meet his parents?
 Date: 08/28/00

He's postponing a long-distance breakup.
Is there a painless out, or does he do it the old-fashioned way?
 Date: 08/28/00

He sees signs everywhere that she's cheating.
Is he right-on, or is she just looking for breathing room?
 Date: 08/28/00

More from last week...

She's ten years older and getting too serious

Dear Conversely,

Email to a Friend When I first started dating my girlfriend I didn't mind that she's ten years older than I am. I'm twenty-three and she's, well, thirty-three. I didn't mind because she was all laid back and no pressure, we were just having a nice old time and she's very fun. Now we've been going out for over six months and I think she's starting to get a bit more serious. The problem now is that my parents are visiting in a couple of weeks and I don't want them to meet her. For one thing my mom would have a coronary, and also it seems too serious. But I don't know how to handle it with her, telling her, since she knows they're coming.

Her view:

Dear Laid-back,

Well, that is quite a predicament. You have to tell her the truth on where your feelings are. I don't think the seriousness of the relationship or lack thereof has to do with her being older. I think it has to do with both of your feelings. If she has stronger feelings for you than you have for her, and you think you won't get to the same level as her, then you need to tell her that. Just the fact that you don't want her to meet your parents is an indicator that this is not the most important relationship for you. And that's perfectly fine - as long as you're honest about it.

You should tell her your parents are coming and you're nervous about an introduction because of age gap, or whatever. It will surely launch a multiple-hour discussion on the relationship and where it's going (or not). But you have to have this talk. And if things are as uneven as you think, this discussion will bring your relationship to an end. That's just the way things are. You might as well get the discussion over with before your parents arrive.

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His view:

Dear Laid-back,

I agree with your decision. If you don't want her to meet your family, then don't invite her along. You'll be making a statement, and of course you don't want to land your mom in the hospital either.

Now, you could just lie and invent something about how your parents are obscene, anti-social and disease-ridden individuals, and that meeting them would be entirely unadvisable. The problem with this approach is actually pulling it off without her realizing you're not man enough to speak the plain truth.

It would be smarter to say you won't have time to see her during the weekend. If she confronts you and asks whether it has something to do with age, don't deny it. But if she's happy without an explanation, then why make her feel old unnecessarily? She can probably figure out what's going on by herself - and it will give her an idea of your level of interest in the relationship.

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You Vote!

You Vote! 77% of Women agree with HER VIEW and 23% with HIS VIEW.

100% of Men agree with HER VIEW and 0% with HIS VIEW.

You Vote! Do you agree more with HER VIEW or HIS?

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